To mark the impending Opening Day, they dug up another baseball movie over there at the Encore channel: “The Slugger’s Wife,” from 1985. This movie has everything, including the Braves’ blue-and-white uniforms, Mark Fidrych and Skip Caray as themselves, and Rebecca DeMornay and Loudon Wainwright III singing rock hits of the late ’70s and early ’80s, including (why not?) Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).” Not to mention the titular slugger having a chance to break Roger Maris’s home run record on the last day of the season while his Braves need to beat the Astros to capture the N.L. East title. (Levi, I’m sure, is bristling at the merest idea that this is what actually happened in 1985.)
While I’m at it, I’ll mention that some parts of the country got a baseball-related TV Guide cover this past week: Detroit got Ivan Rodriguez, Philadelphia got Jim Thome, South Florida got Josh Beckett, Chicago got Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, Houston got Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens, and Southern California got Vladimir Guerrero. Any or all of these people could be the answer to a future trivia question, since this was the first TV Guide issue since 1954 to contain eight days of program listings. (The national cover was “Where Are They Now?”, spotlighting such long-gone television personalities as Eriq LaSalle and Gillian Anderson. The current editorial staff at TV Guide seems to believe that the public’s memory extends no longer than eight days, an opinion they share with the producers of the VH1 show “Best Week Ever.”)
Still, it’s nice to see TV Guide using baseball in an attempt to drive newsstand sales in certain areas, rather than their regular standbys of “Star Trek” or an upcoming movie.